Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary

Posted on Thursday, March 26th, 2015

Tubing Cockscomb Chabil Mar - Belize Resort

Review of Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary

Plenty of natural reserves and parks are recognized by organizations, clubs and travel authorities because they’re home to species of wildlife and plants that can’t be found elsewhere, but the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary (CBWS) is that rare location where so much biodiversity exists within these environs, you might never have to visit another sanctuary to have your fill. Called a “magical place” of wonders and diversity by the World Wildlife Fund, Cockscomb is presently the world’s lone jaguar preserve, but if you visit, you’ll find wildcat, deer and taper tracks in addition to those left behind by these magnificent cats.
History: Concern for the viability of Belize’s jaguar population didn’t arise until the 1980s, when wildlife conservationists and government officials compared notes on the frequency of jaguar references found in hunting magazines. A graduate student was hired to estimate the jaguar population and he declared that the “highest density” of jaguars ever recorded were at the Cockscomb Basin. The government of Belize stepped in and declared the Basin a no-hunting forest reserve in 1984, but wildlife experts remained worried that this designation didn’t sufficiently protect jaguars and other wildlife, so that designation was upgraded to wildlife sanctuary in 1986.

What you’ll see: If you expect to encounter nothing but four legged creatures while visiting this Belize hot spot, you’re in for a surprise. Majestic waterfalls, trails and mountain peaks are home to all sorts of creatures, including a splendid collection of neo-tropical birds. The reason this area is so hospitable has to do with the bounty of natural resources encouraging habitation. The South Stann Creek not only sustains wildlife but also protects the upper watersheds of river systems supplying water to the people of Belize. In fact, there’s just a sliver of land separating basins interconnected to the Swasey River and a Monkey River tributary, so the complex drainage system supports all manner of life in the region—including people!


Stick around: What’s the best way to experience Cockscomb? By staying on premises, of course. Cabins and campgrounds await, so whether you prefer a solid roof over your head or you never met a tent you didn’t like to sleep under, you can go to bed and awaken to the sounds of nature all around you. Be forewarned: this is a moist, tropical forest with high rainfall (around 100 inches annually), so if you can plan your visit in advance, cooler, dry air awaits between February and May. No matter when you come, you will be amazed when you witness this area’s ecological balance.

Getting there: It will take you time to hike area trails, identify exotic vegetation, and spot reptiles and amphibians residing in these wetlands because this area has expanded greatly since 1986. What was once 3,200 acres is now 128,000 acres and the surrounding corridor brings the protected area total to an impressive 250,000 acres. Take a bus, taxi or car to the sanctuary entrance where you will pay a modest entry fee. If you’re driving, travel the Southern Highway about 20 miles south of Dangriga. You must plunge deep into the forest to see the richest treasures and there’s a six-mile path to the epicenter of the sanctuary. Wear comfortable shoes if you plan to hike in, but expect the effort to pay off the moment you spot your first living creature!

For more information about visiting Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, feel free to chat with our Concierge at: or contact our Reservations Manager at: Or perhaps you would like to call toll free from the US or Canada: 1-866-417-2377.

Belize to Play Cayman Islands Today

Posted on Wednesday, March 25th, 2015

belize national football teamBelize will play the Cayman Islands national football team today in the first leg of the qualifying games for the 2018 World Cup. The game will be held at the FFB Stadium in Belmopan and will start at 8pm.

Our very own Luis Torres is on the team and will also be playing tonight.

Luis Football Chabil Mar Resort Belize

The National Football Team of Belize consists of the following players:

Woodrow West – Goalkeeper

Tevin Gamoba – Goalkeeper

Dalton Eiley – Defense

Denmark Casey – Midfield

Devon Makin – Midfield

Elroy Smith – Defense

Andres Makin – Midfield

Stephen Martinez – Midfield

Harrison Roches – Striker

Jarrett Davis – Striker

Kyle Garcia – Defense

Daniel Jimenez – Striker

Marlon Meza – Striker

Highking Roberts – Striker

Elroy Kuylen – Midfield

Najib Guerra – Midfield

Khalil Velasquez – Midfield

Ian Gaynair – Defense

Amin August – Midfield

Trevor Lennen – Defense

Delone Torres – Midfield

Byron Chavez – Midfield

Jordi Polanco – Midfield Carlton Thomas – Midfield

Luis Torres – Midfield

Gilroy Thurton – Striker

Allan La Flore – Defense

Rai West – Goalkeeper

Alexander Inez – Defense

Norman Anderson – Defense

Technical Staff:

Head Coach – Mr. Jorge Nunez

Assistant Coach – Mr. Carlos Slusher

Assistant Coach – Mr. Peter Jonez

Physical Trainer – Mr. Phillip Marin

Goalkeeper Coach – Mr. Kent Gabourel

Orthopedic Technician – Mr. Thomas Rivars

Equipment Manager – Mr. Herbert Trapp Jr

Entertainment at the stadium will be provided by Tanya Carter, TR Shine and DJ Richie, and tickets can be purchased from any SMART Showroom in Belize or the FFB office in Belmopan.

On behalf of Chabil Mar Management & Staff, we wish the very best of luck to our fantastic national team tonight.

How Far Would You Travel to be Immersed in Belizean Chocolate?

Posted on Sunday, March 22nd, 2015

chocolate festival of belize


Did somebody say chocolate? Is it true that there’s an entire festival devoted to chocolate on Belize? Yes, the rumor is correct and if you are not beyond catching planes to indulge, book your passage now so you claim your share of the calories and the fun. No need to tell your dentist you’ll be attending this year’s Chocolate Festival. Just bring your toothbrush. He doesn’t need to know what you were doing between 22nd and 24th May 2015.

Which came first, the chocolate or the cacao plants? Every May, Belize celebrates a huge cash crop. The Toledo Cacao Fest was always scheduled for the third week of May to coordinate with Sovereign’s Day on or about 24 May. Political happenings notwithstanding, the celebration’s focus and name have been changed with some frequency over time, until the Belize Tourism Board and National Institute for Culture and History decided to halt the confusion. These days, it’s called the 7th Annual Chocolate Festival of Belize.

belizean chocolate

A little history: Once upon a time, the Toledo District was home to poverty-stricken people working a flagging crop, but a fortuitous confluence of conditions and imagination lead Belize leaders to evaluate the area’s soil and prioritize a crop that makes environmental sense—cacao beans. All of this came about in 1984 when the Toledo Cacao Growers Association (TCGA) was launched. Because the climate and soil in Toledo are idyllic, entrepreneurs set about planting cacao terroir, a unique bean capable of producing some of the most delicious chocolate food products on the planet.

Festival side shows: The Belize chocolate festival can turn into something of a free-for-all, where gambling, kids mechanical rides, exhibits and displays focus on indigenous Maya culture and the ubiquitous mega-chocolate party that dominates Punta Gorda Town. Expect to find street stalls selling everything from barbeque to crafts and drumming lessons. Toledo’s central plaza and outlying areas will be festooned with decorations. Merchants sell local beers and spirits from beneath tents and crowds are entertained by rap music-playing DJs. If you miss the festival’s wine and chocolate event at Garbutts Marine on Friday, 22nd May, from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m., you might have to live the remainder of your life with mega-regrets.

But where’s the chocolate? In a word, everywhere! Amble around the town central and peripheral festival areas and you will run into products, samples and even chocolate literature. Watch demonstrations on how cacao is processed and used in recipes and products that are putting Belize on the map. Snack on regular food—tamales and empanadas first so you don’t become delirious from the chocolate rush that could come from consuming too many chocolate-laced foods and drinks that include chocolate wines and stout.

Who should you blame? A select group of manufacturers are at the heart and soul of the Belize chocolate industry and the festival. Ix Cacao is a family business headquartered in San Felipe and known for intensely-flavored chocolates infused with all-spice, local vanilla, organic orange peel and baalam nut. Kakaw Chocolate, located on Ambergris Caye, not only produces chocolate products for resale but operates a yummy beach boutique. Goss Chocolates, founded when the first Cacao Fest was staged in 2007, is the company to turn to if European chocolates, delicate milk chocolates and specialty items like truffles are on your radar. Finally, Cotton Tree Chocolate makes little chocolate barrels filled with rum and they also sell cocoa bean jewelry!

Are you ready to spend three whole days in a haze of chocolate? Just nod “Yes” and then find out more about the 2015 festival here: Oh, and don’t worry about what to pack. Just grab anything with an elastic waistband.

Contact us today for more details on the Chocolate Festival of Belize.

BBC Earth Features “Beautiful Bug of Belize” Blog

Posted on Monday, March 16th, 2015

BBC Earth is featuring a blog post on the beautiful bugs of Belize. The article is about the work of Thomas Shahan who is an Oregon-based artist and macro-photographer who specializes in high magnification photography. Shahan is the imaging specialist for the Oregon Department of Agriculture’s entomology and for the past two years, he has been teaching macro photography workshops in Belize, and taking stunning photographs of bugs during his trips.

‘Most tourists visit the country for the clear tropical waters off the coast, but inland Belize includes deep jungle habitats with incredible biodiversity and an enormous amount of arthropod life,” reads the BBC article.

Thomas tells BBC Earth, “I find the seemingly endless diversity and beauty of arthropods fascinating. It’s like exploring another world full of alien life forms.

“Arthropods are often feared, misunderstood, or labelled as pests – unjustly – despite the pivotal role they play in the Earth’s ecosystems. They are certainly more beneficial to the planet than we are as a species.”

Below are three jaw-dropping photos that Thomas Shahan shared with the BBC:

index belize bugs bugs in belize

Read the full article here:

The Placencia Lobsterfest

Posted on Thursday, March 12th, 2015

placencia lobsterfest belize

A Brief History of The Placencia Lobsterfest

The Placencia Lobsterfest began in the summer of 1998. The Placencia Chapter of the Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA) recognized a need to improve the local economy and decided to create an event that would attract visitors from all over world to Placencia Village. They planned for the event to coincide with the start of the Placencia Fisherman’s Cooperative annual Fisherman’s Day festivities and with the start of lobster season.

From Humility to Greatness

It was in June of 1998, at the Placencia fishing harbor with just a single table, the only party represented was The Green Parrot Resort of the Maya Beach Community from the northern Placencia Peninsula. They served lobster bruschetta and the proceedings went forward rather quietly. The small gathering invited the public to play a few makeshift carnival games to raise funds for the Placencia Chapter of the BTIA. But the humble event was successful, drawing enough patronage to double in size two years successively.

In the summer of 2000 The Placencia Lobsterfest had grown considerably, stretching down the beach beyond the docks and attracting foreign visitors. Local artisans of every stripe and performers came to contribute to the atmosphere.

Lobsterfest was well on its way to becoming an annual event to rival those of New Orleans.

A Tradition of Festivity

To keep up with the exponential growth of the Festival, the Placencia BTIA collaborated with the village council and moved the event to the Placencia Village Beach Front. Now there was ample room for the event’s 60+ booths and carnival games. Visitors enjoy the full range of Belizean sea-food treats and delicacies such as lobster fajitas, grilled lobster, stews, pies and an array of novelty confections.

Guests and participants enjoy the thrill of the Lobsterfest raffle, a fully stocked bar which is operated by the village council, terrific live music acts- all of which come together famously to create a three-day event, summertime celebration.

Since 2011, the Placencia BTIA has incorporated the Placencia Fisherman’s Saltwater Tournament in order to make room for the Southern Environmental Association’s first annual Lion-fish Tournament as a response to the environmental threat this invasive species presents to wildlife throughout the Atlantic seaboard. This, like the La Ruta Maya river racing event, has become not only a massive celebration- but it is also a great event for environmental conservation and serves as an example to the world of what can be achieved by combining grand festivals with conservationism.

Placencia Lobsterfest 2015

placencia lobsterfest in belize

Scheduled from June 19 -21, 2015, the Placencia Lobsterfest is a grand celebration of the opening of the lobster season in Belize attracting thousands of local and international visitors. The event is organized by the Placencia BTIA and the Placencia Village Council and has long been a traditional mainstay of Placencia’s economy.

What to expect at Placencia Lobster Fest 2015:

  • Game for kids
  • Belikin beer drinking contest
  • Biggest lobstah’ competition
  • Lionfish tournament
  • Mr. & Ms. Physique
  • Tug-o-War
  • Tipsy tuna toss
  • Hot spicey wings eating contest
  • Kayak racing
  • Placencia Lobsterfest Classics
  • Throw the cast net – A Placencia Lobsterfest original. Throw the cast net over the sand and try to scoop up a schilling!
  • Reel in the kayak – That’s right! Grab a fishing rod and reel in a kayak with one person on board to shore!
  • Fly fishing on the beach – Throw your fly fishing rod and land your fly in the center of a circle drawn in the sand. If you can do this, you are a real champ!

This is the most popular event of the season in Placencia so we hope to see you there!

Contact us today for more details on the Placencia Lobsterfest 2015!